Can Cameron find what he’s looking for?
All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.
I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I first picked up Printz Award winning Going Bovine, but I didn’t think it was going to be anything like the twisting, turning adventure that it was (and I mean that in an entirely good way). The author, Libba Bray, has yet to disappoint me. While the subject matter of Going Bovine wasn’t easy (and it wasn’t that easy Summer read I was looking for) I loved every minute that I was reading it.
The main character of this novel, Cameron Smith is a stoner and a slacker who doesn’t care where he is going to go in life. Until he is diagnosed with Mad Cow disease and goes on a trippy and thought-provoking road trip and learns that nothing is a coincidence. While I found Cameron to be a bit infuriating in the beginning of the novel, I loved him as the narrator of this story. He is a wonderful and unique character, the likes of which I have never had the pleasure of entering their head. Cameron had me laughing on page 1 and kept it coming all the way through the end of the novel.
One thing that I absolutely loved in this novel were that every single character brought something new and funny to the table. None of them were cookie-cutter and they were certainly not predictable. For example, take Balder (who was easily my favorite character) a Viking God turned garden gnome. Bray has given such character and charisma to something we would typically consider an inanimate object to the point that whenever I see a gnome in someone’s garden I will think of him and smile.
The plot of this novel was crazy and all over the place. At times I knew exactly what was going on and at others I had no idea what in the hell I was reading. But once you think about it and catch on to the action of the story it all comes together easily. There are points in the novel where the plot drags a little, but honestly it was nothing that I would even detract any stars from the rating for. I wanted to be on this trippy adventure with Cameron, Gonzo, and Balder, and in many ways Libba Bray made me feel like I was there with them.
Going Bovine had everything I look for in a novel and then some! It makes you think about life, death, and what it means to live in an incredibly funny and surreal way. I highly recommend this novel to people of all ages, as there is something that everyone can take from it.